2019-2020 National Hospital Ambassador
As I begin my final blog of this Program year, I appreciate and thank each one of you. All of you – my Brothers and Sisters who volunteer – are so important to our fantastic organization – the VFW Auxiliary, and especially to our Hospital Program. It is because of YOU we had a successful year.
This last month has brought us many challenges. As we all know, suicide and mental health awareness among our veterans and service members is critical – especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I was glad to hear at VFW National Commander-in-Chief William “Doc” J. Schmitz’s early March testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees that our Senators and members of Congress consider veteran and military suicide a high priority! Many members of the Committee mentioned this subject and the need to help our veterans by measuring all the programs to see what is – and what is not – working. As the Chairman stated, the VFW and its Auxiliary is the “Voice of Conscious” for our veterans.
The Veterans Crisis Line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year:
- Call 800-273-8255 and press 1
- Chat online at veteranscrisisline.net
- Text message to 838255
As we are practicing social distancing, I encourage you to learn more about mental wellness and check on veterans and their families by calling, texting and/or mailing a note of encouragement. They may need your help during this trying time.
In May, remember honor our service members, their spouses, and those who paid the ultimate price. Take time to pay tribute to those who have made so many sacrifices for the freedoms we enjoy. Whether it’s saying “Thank You” to a military spouse, service member or placing Flags on the graves of our veterans and participating in memorial services, make sure you show your appreciation for all they do (and have done) for us. Remember our hospitalized veterans and those in our veterans’ homes and other medical facilities. During this time of COVID-19, please check with the facilities for their guidelines. It’s a good idea to call ahead before volunteering. Keeping you and our veterans safe are our first priority.
From Bobbie Parris, Department of Oklahoma
Painted Rocks with a Teardrop
This was presented as a challenge to paint rocks of all sizes with a teardrop, the suicide prevention hotline number and your local Auxiliary information. Once painted, place them at parks, libraries and other public spaces around your town. Share a picture of yourself and your rock.
This is a fun way to create public awareness of the need to help our veterans and others in need of mental health assistance. It is also another way to let the community know the VFW Auxiliary is here for our veterans and their families.
Thank you Bobbie!
Another idea was given to me verbally and I apologize for not remembering who told me!
- Make a slit down the back of their own clothing so they can get it on and off quickly – like a hospital gown.
I think this idea is a great way to make our hospitalized veterans feel more at home!
My email inbox and snail mail folder are full of fantastic reports, promotions, pictures, etc. of the amazing things you did for our veterans and their families this year. Our volunteers are FANTASTIC!
I am so proud to have served as your National Hospital Ambassador this Program year, and I hope together we shared ideas and suggestions for your use or pass on to others. I know all of you will keep up the great work, continue recruiting new volunteers, and work with our youth and serving our veterans and their families.
You are all doing a great service to our veterans in our VA Medical Centers, veterans’ homes and all medical facilities who serve our veterans every day.
Keep up the good work and continue “Serving Our Veterans with Aloha!” God bless and stay safe!